It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new 4K Blu-ray player. So, to have the Reavon UBR-X100 in for review, which is not only new but from an entirely new home cinema brand, is something of a double win. ‘Excited’ is only putting it mildly.
The Reavon UBR-X100 is one of two launch products from the France-based home cinema company. It’s designed as a universal disc player for DVDs, Blu-rays, 4K Blu-rays, 3D Blu-rays and CDs too, but also comes with the mod-cons of USB and network playback for any photos, videos or music files you might have on your NAS or thumb drive.
Perhaps what’s most exciting is that the Reavon UBR-X100 sits at a price point that’s all too underpopulated. More serious than a budget or mid-ranged machine and not quite as costly as the super-premium, we’d firmly class it at the affordable enthusiast level. That means getting the most from the picture stored on your discs and damn near all of the sound too. Let us play.
Physically speaking, the Reavon UBR-X100 is very much a player of its class. Its 1.6mm thick chassis is reinforced at the bottom by a 3mm rigid steel plate designed to minimise the mechanical vibrations of the optical spinner and keep playback as quiet as possible. Together that creates a good, solid 6.3kg mass that feels suitably weighty.
There are playback buttons on the front face but, apart from eject and power, doubtless you’ll be saving most of the finger tapping for the remote control. That remote is typically fully-featured with options for menus, audio tracks, subtitles and a few other options too. It’s also backlit but you’ll have to press ‘light’, hidden among the jumble of other similar-sized buttons, to activate it. It would be nice if it illuminated when it sensed movement instead.
There are two USB ports to use for local file playback. The one on the front, for easier access, is a USB 2.0, and the one on the rear is a fancy USB 3.0, so it boasts faster transfer rates. Both ports support MKV, FLAC, AIFF, MP3, JPG, M4A, AIF, DSF, OGG and APE file formats.
Outputs Dual HDMI, coaxial, optical
Inputs USB 2.0 front, USB 3.0 rear
Dimensions (hwd) 8 x 43 x 35cm
HDR support HDR10, Dolby Vision
File support MKV, FLAC, JPG, M4A, AIF, AIFF, DSF, DFF, MP3, OGG, APE
Home Theater Audio Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS, DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HRA, DTS:X
Also on the rear are dual HDMI ports (main and audio-only), optical and coax outs, and an Ethernet port for networked playback, including DLNA support. There is no on-board wi-fi and no smart platform.
Powering up the device presents no significant delays and it’s as speedy to read discs as one would hope, although the tray is a little bit jerky when it opens and not quite as silky smooth as we’d like it to be at this price. The only other minor gripe is that it’s a little bit noisier as it spins than others we’ve tested. It’s only going to be a problem during quiet moments if it’s positioned close to your ears when watching (an unlikely setup for most), and it’s nothing compared to the noise of most projectors.
On the playback front, the UBR-X100 can itself decode up to 7.1 channels, supporting both DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Anything more complicated that’s layered on, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, can be bitstreamed over to your AVR.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that while HDR10 and Dolby Vision are supported, there’s no place for HDR10+. If you’re invested in Samsung’s dynamic HDR standard, then this might not be the disc player for you.
Plugging the Reavon into our reference system, we sit back to a cinematic treat with Taxi Driver on Blu-ray. There’s a wonderfully glossy haze to Bernard Herrmann’s score as it drifts through our speakers, ebbing and flowing between the casual jazz riffs and the dangerous, all-instrument chords that remind us of Travis Bickell’s unsettled psyche. The lighter moments come out with a particular sweetness to the midrange underpinned by an excellent rhythmic prowess from this player, which picks out the beat from the plucks of the double bass with real expertise.
There’s some lovely detail too as our anti-hero walks back to his apartment from his job interview. Half-heard conversations from nearby, the sounds of pigeons and the distant hum of traffic pop up at enough angles in the soundstage for us to get an excellent feeling of the 1970s New York streets. It’s a real pleasure to listen to, transporting us right back to another age of cinema, now nearly 50 years ago.
Switching gears to something with more attack, in more ways than one, we head to the stars with the “massive space battle” in chapter 3 of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. There are bleeps and cheeps from the Milano’s navigation and defence systems that we rarely pick up on. The gunfire is nice and tight, no matter how busy the action, and there’s good clarity to the dialogue, with the High Priestess’ clicks of annoyance particularly fun.
What we don’t get quite as much of as we’d like is dynamics. There could be more expression to voices and a greater feeling of impact when drone ships are destroyed. Those sounds are definitely there, and to a reasonable scale, but having heard players such as the Panasonic DP-UB9000 and the once similarly priced but now sadly unavailable Oppo UDP-203, we know that it’s possible to feel a little more emotion in low-volume moments and experience more strikingly impactful explosions.
Similarly, the Reavon is a little bit stingy when it comes to pushing the sound around the speaker channels. The big zooms move well but don’t swing through our space quite as far and as often as we want them too.
Sticking with a similar theme but moving far closer to home, we head to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk for some dogfighting over Northern France. Once again, the Reavon does a superb job of picking out the hum of the Spitfire engines, the rattle of the machine-gun fire and the splinters and pings of glass and metal as the bullets find their mark.
It’s a great performance that brings so much life and energy to this film but there is still room for some improvement when it comes to dynamics. The audio could be a little more revealing for texture at a lower level and there’s space for more drama when the sound gets big too.
As expected, we are moved to tears when Ken Branagh says that he sees home through his binoculars, and when we witness Tom Hardy’s character’s bravery, but the disc itself has more in the tank. The rousing score and the Jaws-like throbs to the music as the German aircraft swoops in for its deadly strafing attack could convey even more threat and emotion were they unleashed with a little more skill.
Switching to Blade Runner 2049 on 4K Blu-ray, with virtually every scene ideal for testing picture quality, we head for the sequence at the ruins of San Diego. The Reavon digs up everything we could want.
The texture and detail of the piles of scrap metal, the grit on the top of the spinner and K’s increasingly worn leather coat are right on the money. Pair this with a good TV or projector and you’ll find a punchy and colourful picture that never threatens to overcook the scene.
The overcast sky is bright but with the layers of clouds still differentiated and, as we head into the darkness of the orphanage, there’s dark detail in every corner of the dingy dome, even with shafts of light piercing through holes in the roof nearby.
There’s plenty of upscaling smarts built in too. Watching A Quiet Place in HD, the picture quality is as good as anything you’ll find at this price. There’s little noise whatsoever on the plain painted surfaces of the abandoned shop fronts in the opening scene. The colours hold true from the greens of the overgrowing plants to the creams and burgundies of the building facades, and skin tones look excellent as well.
Once more, tonal detail is easily handled inside the pharmacy, with the light streaming in through the window and the dark, ransacked shelves in the foreground. It’s strong work on the visuals here from Reavon and no mistake.
This is a strong first player from Reavon that only falls a little short on the audio side, but we still very much recommend it if this is as far as your budget stretches. It outperforms entry-level and step-up models and is well worth the extra spend.
If you do have a little more in your pocket, though, the extra step to the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is one worth making in order to unlock some extra audio impact, home cinema experience and just a shade more physical class. It also adds HDR10+ support, which feels like something you shouldn’t really have to do without at the Reavon’s current price.
- Picture 5
- Sound 4
- Features 4
Read our round-up of the best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players
Read our review of the Panasonic DP-UB9000
Read our Panasonic DP-UB820EB review
Read our Sony UBP-X1100ES review